AG Van Hollen: Home improvement company and owner charged with theft by contractor and home improvement fraud

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Bill Cosh 608/266-1221

MADISON – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice has filed a criminal complaint in Outagamie Circuit Court against Ross Schlomann of Appleton and Schlomann’s company, R Construction of Kaukauna (“defendants”), charging one count of theft by contractor and one count of home improvement fraud.

The complaint alleges that in November, 2005 defendants entered into a $55,250 home improvement contract with a Menasha couple promising, among other things, to provide home improvement services including materials and labor within 90 days. The couple made an initial down-payment to defendants, and work on the home began in February, 2006. The state alleges, however, that defendants later failed to pay subcontractors for the work, despite being paid $45,000 by the couple in subsequent payments. The state further alleges that the defendants failed to give the couple lien waivers, as required under Wisconsin law, for the money paid to defendants. Work on the couple’s home slowed and later halted and eventually the subcontractors filed liens against the couple’s property for lack of payment by defendants.

The case was investigated and referred to the Department of Justice by the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection. The theft by contractor charge, a felony, carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 and/or 3 years and six months imprisonment. The home improvement charge is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of $5,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than one year or both. The initial appearance in the case has been set for November 25th.

A criminal complaint is a document alleging violation of the criminal law and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Assistant Attorneys General Eric Défort and Nelle Rohlich represent the state